Races That Gave Their Names To Classic Cars

April 24th, 2018

Scan through some advertisements for popular Australian performance cars and you will sooner or later come upon one claiming to be a ‘Bathurst Special’. Wow, you may be tempted to think, one of the specially built cars with acid-dipped body panels, double welds, thinner glass and even some of the seat padding pared to save weight? But no.

The vast majority of cars advertised as anything ‘Bathurst’ never achieved glory on the slopes of Mount Panorama. Most have only tenuous links to those that did. In fact, the only model named in honour of our most challenging track to date was a Japanese Toyota MR2.

A different story can be told about the world’s most famous and longest-surviving of sports car race. The annual Le Mans 24 Hour event first ran in 1923 and several brands have named models in honour of the race or parts of the Sarthe track.

Although dominated in its early days by Bentley and Bugatti, then later by Ferrari, Ford, Jaguar and Porsche, only Ferrari has so far named one of its cars (the 1960s 250LM) in honour of a Le Mans victory. Before that, British brand Singer sold a Le Mans Replica to honour its participation during the 1930s and Pontiac used it on a line of models with no sporting prowess at all.

The years 1966/67 brought mixed fortunes for Ferrari. Having been obliterated at Le Mans in 1966 by Ford’s GT40, Ferrari would a few months later turn the tables by finishing 1-2-3 at the USA’s premier sports car race; the Daytona 24 Hour. In tribute a Daytona version of the V12 365GT was announced and remained in production until 1971. Studebaker didn’t object despite having used the Daytona name for several years on Lark-based Hardtops and station wagons.

Named ‘The Green Hell’ by Formula One driver Jackie Stewart, the Nordschliefe (or North Circuit) of Germany’s Nurburgring is regarded as the most challenging permanent race-track in existence. It winds through 20.8 kilometres of countryside and dense forest and has taken many lives including some of the sport’s top drivers.

In 2002 to mark the end of R34 GTR production, Nissan honoured the track where at various times it held the Production Car lap record by producing 1000 of the GTR V Spec ‘Nur’ model. These cars today are worth around twice as much as a stock V Spec R34 so a name can indeed count for something.

People who own special cars understand the importance of documented history.  At Enthusiast Insurance www.enthusiast.com.au we cover many vehicles of historic significance or which are just significant for their deeds in the eyes of owners.

History can set quite ordinary cars apart from similar models so when obtaining a quote, let your insurer know any special attributes. If your vehicle came with documents that detail a famous owner or confirm that it has competed in a notable motor sporting event the difference in value could be significant.

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